The History of Motor Sports in Hibbing and Northern Minnesota - A Timeline

                                                                      1953        The St. Louis County Fair had the IMCA “Big Cars” in competition once
                                                                                                      again. A crowd of 7,000 witnessed a great driver lineup that included
                                                                                                      Hall of Fame drivers; Bobby Grimm, Jerry Blundy, and Don Branson.
                                                                                                      Unfortunately, the name of the winner went unpublished.
                                                                                                      On the local front, the second year of “Stock Car” racing was done under
                                                                                                      the auspices of the NAE, North American Enterprise Inc, an organization
                                                                                                      run by Bud Stapleton who was now the track manager. The 1953 points
                                                                                                      champion was Roy Pender.
                                                                                                     Of note this year, was an accident that occurred on the Sunday afternoon
                                                                                                     of September 6th. A worlds record was set with a pile-up of 44 cars. The
                                                                                                     previous record was a 28 car pile-up at the Slaughter Pen Track at Harrisburg,
                                                                                                     Pennsylvania. It was caused, as you might imagine, by limited visibility due
                                                                                                     to dust. Coming out of turn 4 on the ˝ mile track, the first two cars tangled
                                                                                                     and the rest of the pack simply piled on. Some cars were stacked three high.
                                                                                                     Three drivers; Joe Slick and Duane Simons of Hibbing and Frank Erickson
                                                                                                     of Embarrass were hospitalized overnight. Treated for fractures, cuts, and
                                                                                                     bruises and released were Steve Buria, Mt. Iron; Roy Pender, Virginia and
                                                                                                     John Purkat and Bob Blight both of Hibbing.


© David L. Aho 2012

Dave is a member of the Hibbing Historical Society and the Minnesota State Historical Society and is a City of Hibbing Heritage Preservation Commission board member.